By People Staff
June 23, 2003 12:00 PM

By Kate White

If Looks Could Kill, Cosmopolitan editor-in-chief White’s debut as a mystery novelist, was a delicious takeoff on the backstabbing world of women’s magazines—with the backstabbing made literal. Her follow-up starts promisingly with a murder at a high-end Massachusetts spa. True-crime writer Bailey Weggins, in need of some R&R after all that stressful sleuthing in Looks, discovers a dead masseuse rolled up head-to-toe in Mylar—a note sure to chill any beauty devotee who has ever come down with claustrophobia during a mud wrap. But after that inspired stroke, Body turns into a by-the-numbers mystery, with little of the insidery fun that made Looks such a delight. With its pampered customers, wacky treatments and psychobabbling practitioners, the spa world should be ripe for a tongue-in-cheek satire. But this time White’s characters are about as meaty as an arugula salad. The novel perks up whenever Bailey returns to Manhattan or flirts with a romantic prospect—proof that White’s slayings are best served with a side dish of sex and the city. (Warner Books, $23.95)

BOTTOM LINE: Deadly dull